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The Diamond Trilogy, Book I
Foreword by James Patterson
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 1, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Siobhan came to New York with a purpose: She wants to become a successful artist. To pay her bills in the meantime, she’s the hostess at The Stone Room, a bar for the beautiful and the billionaires. She’s fine with being on her own — until tech billionaire Derick takes her breath away.
BookShots Flames Original romances presented by James Patterson
Novels you can devour in a few hours
Impossible to stop reading
When I first had the idea for BookShots, I knew that I wanted to include romantic stories. The whole point of BookShots is to give people lightning-fast reads that completely capture them for just a couple of hours in their day—so publishing romance felt right.
I have a lot of respect for romance authors. I took a stab at the genre when I wrote Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and Sundays at Tiffany’s. While I was happy with the results, I learned that the process of writing those stories required hard work and dedication.
That’s why I wanted to pair up with the best romance authors for BookShots. I work with writers who know how to draw emotions out of their characters, all while catapulting their plots forward.
Author team Elizabeth Hayley is one of those dynamite writing forces in romance. In this story, Dazzling, you’re getting the first book in a gut-wrenching, dramatic serial romance. Only a team like this could write the passion you’ll find here. And while Dazzling ends on a cliffhanger, I know that next month, you’ll be back for more.
“And remember to tell people about the step down into the lounge.”
Siobhan Dempsey tried to hide her boredom. She knew she should pay attention to Saul’s words as he droned on and on about how he wanted his lounge run. But honestly, a girl could only have a balding, sixty-something-year-old man tell her that “flirting paid the bills” so many times.
She got it. All the servers and bartenders at the Stone Room did. The place was aptly named, not just because of the stunning exposed stone walls, but also because of the various gems that adorned everything from the diamond chandeliers to the ruby napkin holders.
Wealthy men flocked to this high-end bar from all over the country. Not only was it housed in one of the ritziest hotels in New York, but its beautiful employees were classy enough to keep their clothes on, yet risqué enough to show a little skin. The uniform at the Stone Room could best be described as expensively sexy in all black.
“Elegant black,” as Saul called it. The kind that required silk and stilettos. How low the neckline dipped and how high the hem rose resulted in how much cash a girl wanted to leave with at the end of the night. Needless to say, none of the girls ever complained about the money.
Letting her eyes drift over the plush slate-gray couches that sat atop dark hardwood floors, Siobhan was still surprised that she worked here. Before moving to New York, she’d only ever seen places like the Stone Room in movies. They certainly didn’t exist in Oklahoma.
She glanced past the sleek mahogany bar to the mirror behind the liquor shelves, checking her reflection before the place opened. She ran her fingers through her long, light-brown hair, which appeared significantly darker in the dim lighting, and practiced her “happy to be seating you” smile.
The Stone Room screamed opulence and glamour. Siobhan had never felt so out of place in her life. She had no clue why Saul had given her the job three months ago, but she knew better than to question him. The money was good, and she didn’t have to do anything that would potentially get her arrested.
She looked at the other workers, whose ability to feign interest came naturally. Most of the bartenders and servers were performing artists. Siobhan guessed Saul thought they’d be able to put on a show for the customers, which explained why she was relegated to hosting duties. Evidently painters, like their art, were better observed while still. Dropping a tray of crystal stemware during training had probably also made Saul’s decision an easy one. A hostess she was, and a hostess she would likely stay.
That is, if he allowed her to stay at all. Saul had made it clear that one more screw-up would cost her the job. She’d need to curb her innate clumsiness if she was going to keep the job she desperately needed.
The meeting finally ended with a “don’t forget to smile seductively” from Saul. Barely managing to suppress a groan, Siobhan stood and turned to Marnel, one of the servers. “Who should I introduce you as tonight?”
Marnel pursed her lips and cast her pale-green eyes to the ceiling, which Siobhan knew was all for show. Marnel never left her apartment without that night’s persona firmly in place. She also didn’t leave without every blond curl on her head in place. “How about Scarlett?”
Marnel was an aspiring actress who had very peculiar beliefs about fame. The oddest was that her stage name was as important to hitting the big time as her talent was. So she picked a new one each shift with the hopes that it would click and she’d instantly be catapulted to stardom. Or something like that.
Siobhan shrugged. “I don’t know why you don’t just use your own name. It’s so unique.”
“I’ve been Marnel for twenty-six years, and the only thing it ever got me was the nickname Nell and questions about growing up in the forest.”
Siobhan squinted. “I’m guessing that I’m supposed to know what that means.”
It looked like Marnel was about to launch off on her when Cory appeared holding a serving tray. “What what means?”
Pointing a finger at Siobhan, Marnel answered. “She’s never seen the movie Nell.”
Cory tilted her head slightly. “Okay, not quite the conversation I’d anticipated.”
“What were you anticipating?” Siobhan asked.
“Pretty much anything besides that.”
The girls’ laughter was interrupted by a stern-looking Saul. “I’ve opened the doors. Try to act professional,” he said, before walking off.
“Lucky for him, I can act like I’m anything. Including a southern belle named Scarlett,” Marnel said, with an over-emphasized twang.
Siobhan cocked an eyebrow playfully. “I’ve never met a southern belle in a black lace bustier and leather shorts.”
Marnel smirked as she backed away from them. “Then you ain’t met the right kind, darlin’.”
Siobhan shook her head as a grin spread across her face.
“She’s something else,” Cory said. “I better get to my station. Remember to seat all the handsome guys with me.” She shot Siobhan a wink before retreating to her side of the lounge.
Letting her eyes drift over the large room one more time, Siobhan made her way toward the front of the house. She tried not to limp as she walked. She never usually wore heels, and she wondered how long she’d have to shove her feet into five-inch stilettos before her art could pay the bills. It wasn’t that she hated her job. The girls were fun, and the patrons were mostly nice. But she was an artist, not a model. Her feet could only withstand so much mistreatment.
Suddenly, Siobhan tripped and it was too late to catch herself. It was one of those slow-motion moments where the floor inches toward a person’s face. Siobhan felt like every person in that room was not only incredibly attractive, but had their eyes glued to her, that chick in the black minidress and peep-toe pumps who was about to eat the hardwood.
As Siobhan braced for the moment of impact, all she could think about was how this was yet another reminder that she didn’t belong here and would likely not be allowed to stay. Nothing said fluid sex kitten like plunging to the floor, landing on all fours, and clawing at your fleeing dignity.
But just before she made contact with the ground, a strong hand gripped her biceps from behind and kept her on her feet. As the gentleman helped right her, she turned toward him, though she wasn’t quite ready to lift her head yet.
Realizing that she couldn’t stare at the floor all night, her blue eyes began their slow ascent up the man in the navy-blue trousers. She started her apology somewhere around his belt. “I’m so sorry.” She took in his pressed-to-perfection white button-down. “Thank you.” No tie, but a collar that had one button open to show off a hint of tanned skin. “Seriously, thank you…” Then her eyes locked with his. Sweet Mother of God.
Siobhan had to remind herself to breathe. And to listen, because the gorgeous man in front of her was talking. Wait…oh shit, he’s talking to me. “I’m sorry. What was that?”
His answering smile showed perfect teeth that looked immaculately white against the darkness of his trimmed beard. Light-brown eyes crinkled with humor. This was a man who obviously laughed a lot. “I asked if you were all right.”
Suddenly aware that she was still gripping onto the forearm she must’ve grabbed when he’d caught her, she snatched her hand back as she straightened up fully, nearly causing her to lose her balance a second time. “Yeah. I mean yes. Yes, I’m okay. Thank you.”
Leaning back slightly, he pushed his hands into his pockets. God, he’s tall. Siobhan was five feet seven inches without the torturous heels. The man in front of her had to be quite a few inches over six feet. “You’re welcome.”
He stood in front of her, staring with a small smirk on his lips. His lips. They were full without being too plump. Siobhan thought about how soft they’d probably feel against her own mouth. How the coarse scruff on his face would offset the smoothness of his lips, creating a delicious friction that would keep her locked in the moment.
That strong hand that had gripped her arm would slide around her back and pull her into him where she’d get to revel in the hardness of what was surely a strong, lean body. Not that she knew he was well-built for sure, but that’s what daydreaming was for. Daydreaming? Oh my God, I’m doing it again.
Siobhan gave herself a mental shake. “Sorry.”
“Do you always do that?”
“Do what?” She quickly looked down at herself to see if he could possibly be talking about some other embarrassing thing she was doing instead of calling her out on her obvious lack of grace.
She narrowed her eyes in confusion. “Sorry?”
He laughed. “You did it again.”
Why was she acting like such a moron? She was twenty-seven years old, not fourteen. “I meant that sorry as an excuse me.”
“Did you do something inappropriate?”
“What?” she asked before she could remind herself to be polite.
“Did you do something I need to excuse you for?”
Why was this guy messing with her? Why couldn’t he be like most New Yorkers and ignore her existence? “You mean other than forcing you to keep me from smashing my face into the floor?”
He rocked back and forth on his heels before answering. “How exactly did you force me to do that?”
“Well, I guess I didn’t literally force you. Most guys probably would’ve done what you did.”
His smile dropped as his brows furrowed. “I’m not sure I like being compared to most guys.”
“You’d prefer me to compare you to the few assholes who’d have let me fall?” Siobhan mentally slapped herself. Granted, she hadn’t paid much attention during Saul’s meeting, but she was fairly certain using profanity in front of customers had been covered. And if not, it should have been.
Her dream man barked out a laugh before extending his hand toward her. “I’m Derick.”
She put her hand into his. “Siobhan.”
“Siobhan. That’s a beautiful name.” He stopped shaking her hand, but didn’t release it.
“Thank you,” she replied, her voice barely above a whisper.
He stepped closer. “You’ve done that a lot, too.”
Siobhan looked up at him, mesmerized by his amber eyes. “Done what?”
“I have a lot to thank you for.”
Derick opened his mouth to say something else, but was cut off by Saul’s gruff voice. “Siobhan, you’re needed at the front desk.”
She quickly retracted her hand and looked over at her boss who had stopped beside her. “Right. On my way.” She glanced at Derick as she passed. “Thanks again.”
Hurrying to the hostess stand, she immersed herself in catching up on seating guests and answering phones with her coworker Tiffany.
“Siobhan, the girls are falling behind. You think you can help run drinks for a few minutes without screwing anything up?” Saul asked. “Tiffany can cover the front for a bit.”
“Sure.” I hope. Saul must have been really desperate to ask her. He’d made it clear that she was on thin ice. Asking her to carry liquid in fine glassware to paying customers seemed like a set-up. She briskly made her way to the servers’ station at the corner of the bar. “Hey, Blaine.”
Blaine tucked a piece of her black hair behind her ear as she strained a martini into a glass. “Hey.” She smiled. “What are you doing over here?”
“Saul asked me to help run drinks.”
Blaine mashed her lips together as though she were stifling a laugh. “Maybe you shouldn’t run with them.”
“Ha-ha, very funny. So I guess you saw my little incident earlier.”
Blaine’s blue eyes sparkled with amusement. “I did.”
Siobhan began lining up the drinks on a tray so that she could carry it steadily, when a voice caused her to jolt and spill liquor all over her hand.
“I figured out how you can thank me.”
Siobhan whipped her head around as she reached for a bar napkin. Derick. “How’s that?” she asked, wondering if Derick recognized the wariness in her voice. Her knight in shining armor was quickly devolving into a sleazy frat boy. Her mind ran through a list of possible ways he would make her repay the debt.
“Go to lunch with me tomorrow.”
That had definitely not made her list. “Lunch?”
He leaned against the bar. “Yeah. I have to be in New Jersey for dinner, but I’d like to meet you for lunch before I have to leave the city.”
“Sorry. I can’t.”
Because I turn into a bumbling idiot whenever you’re around. “I just can’t.”
“I don’t accept that as a valid excuse.”
“Why should it matter to me whether or not you think my excuse is valid?”
He thought for a second. “Because I’m handsome?”
Siobhan couldn’t help the laugh that tumbled out of her. “I’m not making an excuse. I really can’t. I teach an art class in Central Park on Sundays.”
- On Sale
- Nov 1, 2016
- Page Count
- 140 pages